DISTURBED frontman David Draiman has posted the following message on Twitlonger.com, a related Twitter site that allows one to send tweets that require more than 140 characters:
“My stance on file sharing/downloading;
“I have always been in favor of, that’s correct, in favor of file sharing and downloading digital music since day 1. I have never blamed the consumer for simply taking advantage of something that is readily and easily available to them, and enables the spread of great music and art to fans of it all over the globe.
“I have been in support of having nominal fees built into ISP subscription rates that would have enabled everyone to file share freely while still enabling artists to be compensated for their work. The proceeds could then have been payed out the same way writing/publishing royalties are, utilizing Internet monitoring systems, such as those developed by companies like Big Champagne, for example. The fans would get all the music they wanted for a nominal price, built into the Internet service that they are already paying for, and the artists and the ISPs would be able to still make it a viable busniess.
“Unfortunately, the RIAA [Recording Industry Association Of America] and music industry, simply chose to persecute the consumers, the very fans that give the artists and the labels the ability to exist, and bit the hand that fed them. This was a mistake in judgement, in my opinion. That is why when companies like Spotify came into existence, I was thrilled, because it gave the consumer the ability to have unlimited music at their fingertips, for a reasonable monthly subscription cost. It also enabled the exchange of music through social media as well, putting the icing on the proverbial cake.
“Make no mistake, however, that the culture that has been bred over the course of the last 10+ years of simply thinking that all music should be available for free is wrong, and immoral; plain and simple.
“This mentality has created an environment where it is more and more difficult for artists, particularly up-and-coming ones, to survive and sustain themselves.
“People wonder why fewer and fewer acts come out these days and are able to last. The status quo that exists is a huge factor in that. The creation of the ‘360 deal,’ where labels now insist on taking a piece of everything new artists do, is a direct result of that.
“People’s love of music is stronger than it ever has been, and the Internet has been an amazing tool, enabling artists to extend their respective reaches farther than ever before, but it has also created an environment where pirateers and websites that profit off of the traffic (by selling advertisements on their sites) created by offerring other people’s life’s work for free, is wrong and criminal in every sense of the word.
“People’s argument, that ‘I still buy tickets and t shirts and go to shows’ is a valid one. All of us are eternally grateful for every fan’s love and support, and much like test-driving a car, you should be able to try before you buy; but be aware that now record companies are demanding a huge chunk of that revenue (touring and merch), which used to be an musician’s bread and butter, as a result. Again, there is a way to sample new music for free, and many bands (including us) offer samples of their music for free.
“We, as artists, love and appreciate our fans more than you know. We know that we could not exist without you, but we don’t steal from you, not in any way, not ever. Wrong is wrong, no matter what color you paint it, or how you try to spin it.
“I am against [controversial anti-piracy bills] SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), because they limit people’s freedom of expression and freedom of speech, not because they are trying to protect the rights of artists everywhere. I truly do hope that they re-write the legilation and get it right this time so that the music consumer can continue to have access to the music they love, at a reasonable cost, legally; and without censorship and restricting peoples freedom to express themselves on the greatest arena of free speech and expression in existence, the Internet.”